Tony Penultimate

A Night at the Opera

I was probably right not to write about the Watford gig - it was a good show, but nothing out of the ordinary happened, we were without George and Dave, but Ben Rouse stepped in and we rocked. The only notable thing was that it was a venue that we hadn't played before - the Watford Colosseum, part of the local town hall. I like towns which have chosen an epic or exotic name for their theatre - the Bradford Alhambra for example, springs to mind.

So we are on the road again in the UK and we are without Doug, our veteran sound engineer, who is working elsewhere (hello Doug! - he reads this sometimes) instead we have Verena, our German sound tech, who has flown over to do the shows over the next four days. Also Dave is back, after a routine knee operation, which has left him hobbling a bit, but still the old trouper instinct prevailed during the show, and he staggered over like Quasimodo to hand out his prizes (despite my offer of letting me do it for him).

Our old friend Phil Doleman popped by to see us as well.

It took me 6 hours to drive up from Kent and thats not bad, Richie's journey (he lives in Devon) took him five hours. He has the larger car, which is better for long journeys (a touring car, they used to say in my Dad's day). I've had a bad back for the last week and thankfully it wasn't too bad when I arrived.

I'm typing this at 8AM in the hotel lobby (the only good place for wifi) - I always have a problem on the first day of touring, as I'm an early riser at home and then I transfer into showbiz mode (i.e. drive to the gig, then play the show) - so I'm pumped up with adrenaline after the show and can't get to sleep till midnight or 1AM. 

Buxton is a very pretty Spa town in the beautiful countryside of Derbyshire and was a fashionable place for the well to do to come and take the waters during the Regency period. The Buxton Opera House is stunning, built by Frank Matcham, who built many beautiful theatres - we've played here five or six times before and the audience is always great. 

Ceiling at the Buxton Opera House  


 Sad Clothes, Spartan dressing room

Extraordinary sign on the toilets (there WAS a lock on the door!) 

George's old music teacher came along - apologies - didn't catch his name!


Fabulous George Formby tie worn by long time fan Dave.

 Reception of the Palace Hotel (above) and facade (below) by night.



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